By Clandestine Clown, September 11 2019 —
I look around my orientation group in fear as they loudly recite “our” faculty cheer. Hopefully, my reaction will be interpreted as first-year jitters rather than revealing that I’m used to the energy of a much less exciteable faculty — and that I’m not in my first year. My disguise is simple — a faculty colour-coded T-shirt. The second you put it on, you cease being a regular person. You are a First-Year Baby, who will never be questioned for taking free stuff. The free stuff is for First-Year Babies, after all!
I’m not good at lying. My friend, who is not a University of Calgary student but is a fellow fan of free stuff, accompanies me and aides in the lying department. Having someone that you can hide in a corner with makes it a lot easier to avoid having to lie at all. Any situation where I’m with an actual first-year is a moment closer to me blowing my cover because I simply cannot handle the upkeep of such a ruse, even while making small talk. It’s not necessarily disastrous if this happens, but I suppose it takes all the fun out of having a secret. I just can’t help but feel that in a situation such as, let’s say a scavenger hunt for example, that I wouldn’t want to partake in this more lengthy activity with people just for them to potentially find out down the road that I betrayed them with my shenanigans. Or maybe they wouldn’t care at all, because either way, we won a gift card.
Over the years of pretending to be a first-year, I’m often asked if it’s worth the ruse. Is the free stuff really that good? The answer is no, of course not. Campus Expo, originally my favourite place to get free stuff, has been separated from orientation at this point. No ruse required. This year’s Kickoff Tailgate, which is open to everyone and free for students, gave out free phone grips, beef jerky and a frankly unreasonable amount of foam footballs. At this point, the only free stuff that requires some level of deceit is the faculty T-shirt and bracelets for free lunch. With a schedule for orientation, one could easily pop in just to get free stuff, stealthily sneaking out of Induction and elective sessions. But is that what I did? Of course not.
This year’s Induction really cemented for me that this ceremony is really not meant to be attended more than once. Being exposed to the exact same speech by the vice-provost of student experience year after year, complete with repeated jokes, made me realize the depths of my own memory. But to be fair, she has no reason to rewrite a single word of it. This is what I’ve signed myself up for.
Elective sessions are completely different. You never know what to expect. Last year, the session on entrepreneurial thinking was listed to take place in a room where a different session was already taking place, sending a flock of confused students to the Hunter Hub. It’s meant to be on entrepreneurial thinking, after all. But alas, it was closed, not an innovative thought to be found. This year, I attended a tour of CJSW during which a student asked if they played “good music.”
Would I recommend sneaking into orientation? I guess that depends on if you also want to build a rainbow in faculty shirts.
And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me.